Xiaomi puts the focus on India with plans to open 100 retail stores

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Xiaomi is increasing its office retail presence in China as bids to gain ground stolen by rivals in its homeland, and now it is making that very same push in its second largest market, India.

The Chinese company, which is valued at $45 billion, suffered a tough time last year as sales growth slowed — Xiaomi, notably, didn’t go public with sales figures for 2016 — but India has been a bright spot. It passed $1 billion in revenue for the first time in the country last year, and it ended 2016 as India’s second highest selling smartphone maker behind only Samsung, according to analyst firm Canalys.

Now it is doubling down on the country by introducing its ‘Mi Home’ stores, starting with a debut space in Bengaluru which will open in just over a week. The plan is to expand the initiative to reach 100 stores over the next two years, Xiaomi’s India head Manu Jain said in a tweet.

Jain told Economics Times that Xiaomi is aiming to stock all products available in India but, in the off chance that it is out, customers will be able to pick up a code that allows them to buy their desired device online. The stores will also show off products from China before their local launch in India.

Initially, Xiaomi is somewhat constrained by Indian regulations on overseas firms operating brick and mortar retails stores. That means its first stores will be run by a partner, although Xiaomi said it has applied for the relevant license to take over. Apple is among others that is in the same boat. The U.S. giant is waiting on permission to bring the Apple Store to Indian soil, a move that would massively increase its sales presence. While CEO Tim Cook has said that India-based sales are growing at record levels, Apple is estimated to have shipped just 2.5 million iPhones to the country last year. For comparison, it sold 50.8 million iPhones in the most recent quarter alone.

Featured Image: @manukumarjain / Twitter (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)